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ITP, Parallel Tracking & More SEM Updates

4 MINUTE READ | September 7, 2018

ITP, Parallel Tracking & More SEM Updates

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Emily Denney

Emily Denney has written this article. More details coming soon.

In addition to the ongoing buzz with Holiday right around the corner, there’s a lot happening in the world of search marketing these days. From ITP2 and Responsive Text Updates, below is a roundup of what you need to know.

Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0 (ITP2) is slated for likely release in mid to late September. Similar to the first ITP update last year, with this update, advertisers will not be able to track conversions from Safari browsers using their legacy conversion tags.

To ensure the continued measurement of site conversions, advertisers need to replace legacy tags with gtag.js as soon as possible. Some advertisers will need to convert a Floodlight iframe or image tag to gtag.js and others will need to migrate their Floodlight implementation to gtag.js.

A recent update from the Google Ads platform read in part:

“To help ensure conversions are reported accurately in your Google Ads account, we’ll be updating the legacy conversion and remarketing tracking library (conversion.js) to be consistent with Apple’s recommendations for ad attribution. Specifically, this legacy library will set new cookies on your landing pages. The Global Site Tag (gtag.js) and linked Google Analytics tags (analytics.js) may already be setting the same cookies on your site.

Starting in September 2018, Google Ads library conversions.js will begin setting the new cookie, if it’s not already present. You can opt out or turn this off before that date, or any time after, by adding a new parameter, google_conversion_linker = false, to your conversion.js configuration.”

Check back often as we’ll be sharing additional news and updates about ITP 2 as we hear of them.

Parallel Tracking will be required for all Google Ads accounts beginning October 30, 2018. In an effort to improve user experience (and therefore, ad performance), Parallel Tracking helps pages load more quickly. Click measurement occurs in the background while users are sent directly from an ad to the associated landing page.

To the end user, Parallel Tracking looks like:

  1. Clicking on the ad

  2. Seeing the landing page.

But at the same time, in the background:

  1. Google Ads click tracker loads

  2. Tracking URL loads

  3. If you use more than one click tracker, additional redirects may load.

Parallel Tracking GIF

Parallel Tracking GIF via Google

Without parallel tracking, customers can go through one or more redirects after clicking your ad before they reach your landing page, meaning that it takes longer for customers to reach your landing page. In advance of this update, we anticipate that many accounts will have some compatibility issues related to the current tracking templates and parameters that will need to be addressed.

Currently in beta, Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) extend text ad coverage and incorporate machine learning in an effort to improve ad performance. As RSAs are still in beta and Google works to improve them across languages, new ad fields and extended character limits give marketers additional opportunities to maximize ad real estate for existing formats in the search results.

  • New optional text ad fields: Headline 3 and Description 2

  • Extended character limit: 90 characters for each description (previously 80)

A few things worth noting:

  • Headline 3 will not display in a truncated format. If there is not enough space on the SERP for Headline 3 to show, only Headlines 1 and 2 will display.

  • While the performance impact of these specific elements is unknown, Google expects that increasing ad real estate via the full use of available elements can lead to as much as a 5% to 15% click increase.

A few things that can make implementation easier are that the new fields can be added to existing ads without resetting performance history and that the ads with the new fields can run in the same ad group as ads without.

Things that may complicate implementation:

  • Bulk uploads are not yet supported, meaning the new fields must be manually uploaded. Editor support is expected upon full launch in late August or early September, while SA360 support is in the pipeline for mid-September.

  • Reporting views in the UI cannot distinguish between ads with and without the new fields. Labels could help here.

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We recommend advertisers and brands to work together to identify which of these updates will have the biggest impacts on their search marketing strategies, then determine how to best proceed as we move into Holiday. Check back often for updates and additional news on ITP 2, Parallel Tracking, and the Responsive Search Ads and Expanded Text Ads improvements.

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